Baking and Math

Thanks to Annie Spratt @anniespratt for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 

As a parent, there are times when you’ll need to find ways to reinforce those tricky math skills. Making math fun is one of the best ways to help your child learn these skills, and incorporating them into daily life is a way for them to practice without even realizing it. Baking is a brilliant way to engage your child in math as it is a fun activity you can enjoy with your children, while also allowing them to practice important math concepts at the same time. 

If your child loves baking, it is a fantastic way of practicing math. Just give them a cookbook, offer a hand to wash up, and cheer them on all the way.

My daughter has loved baking since she could walk and she was officially given free run of the kitchen since she decided she wanted to be a baker. The caveat was she had to leave it the way she found it.

Baking has been great for her math. She comfortably doubled, trebled ingredient portions and I happily got stuffed on delicious sponge cakes, banana bread, and scrumptious meringues—her trademark pieces.

In the kitchen, you need to know and apply fractions. Help them recognize the different fractional amounts and compare the sizes of the cups. As children get older, try removing some of the cups and see if they can build the fractions. For example, you only have a quarter cup, how can you make a half cup?

You have to double, treble, halve ingredient portions in recipes. There are conversions to be made from oz to g, Fahrenheit to Celsius. Other math to be employed include division, volume, telling time, calculating change in time, and much more.

And the beauty is, your child will figure it out. Sometimes with a bit of help and sometimes without.

Other mathematical concepts can also easily be brought into conversations such that children are using their mental math skills or reasoning, which is sometimes under-appreciated in mathematics.

You can also discuss ratios, for example, while making chocolate milk. When mixing it, you can talk about how many parts chocolate syrup or powder to add to the milk in order to make it sweeter or less sweet. Experiment and test mixtures to find the ideal ratio.

Your child will start to build a stronger connection with math, understand why math is important, and see how they can apply their skills in real life.

Get them whatever equipment they need, within reason and budget: weighing scale, baking pans, whisk, and watch passion take them on a fantastic culinary and mathematical journey. Seeing math applied in real life will give them a new appreciation for the subject. And a lot of yummy treats for you and your family! Bake on.

For a taster on math in baking, read on:

– Christina Sng for Maths@Singapore

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